Laurence Fox, 44, has launched a petition, urging the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop of London Sarah Mullaly to resign. It comes after the Archbishop issued a public statement declaring the Church of England to be “institutionally racist”, and after the Bishop reportedly told a black trainee vicar that the Church was “institutionally racist”.
Laurence, in his petition, suggested they should both resign and make way for Black, Asian and ethnic minorities (BAME) clergy people.
He explained in a statement published on Change.org that Justin Welby has, since 2020, called for “radical and decisive” changes to be made within the church to “remedy past injustices”.
The actor claimed the Archbishop said he was “ashamed of the Church’s history”.
It comes after the Most Reverend Justin Welby said at a meeting of the Church’s ruling body, the General Synod, that he was “ashamed” of its history of racism, in 2020.
The BBC reports he said at the time: “I’m ashamed of our history and I’m ashamed of our failure. There is no doubt when we look at our own Church that we are still deeply institutionally racist.”
Of the Bishop of London, Laurence wrote: “Sarah Mullally has likewise been full of penitence for what she sees as the Church’s ongoing sins.
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A spokesperson for the Church of England told Express Online:
“We fully sympathise with concerns over racism within the Church and wider society – the Church has been actively engaged on this issue for some time.
“In April 2021, the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce issued its report ‘From Lament to Action’, proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.
“This work is now continuing with the Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission, which is setting out a compelling agenda for change and will report to the Archbishops at regular intervals with recommendations to help the Archbishops fulfil their commitments to identify, respond to, and root out systemic racism in the Church.”
Laurence is an actor best known for his supporting role as DS James Hathaway in ITV Drama show, Lewis, from 2006 to 2015.
The star was also married to singer Billie Piper from 2007 to 2016.
More recently, however, the star has gained recognition after he publicly opposed the George Floyd protests in June 2020.
He also expressed strong anti-vaccination views during the Covid-19 pandemic.